Watch – Too many laps around the track

2011-07-08 07:47

Film: Cars 2 (Ster-Kinekor)

Director: John Lasseter and Brad Lewis

Featuring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer and Eddie Izzard

Rating: 6/10

Lightning McQueen, the cocky race car, returns to the circuit after five years for another adventure thanks to Pixar, Disney and their desire to get as much mileage out of this children’s favourite as possible.

Which brings us to the point that children’s films should see the checkered flag long before the 90-minute mark.

This one goes on and on, hitting a two-hour running time and getting in four car races – far too much for most pint-sized viewers.

Though the film goes on for too long, the story is at least given some variety.

The first film was all about Lightning McQueen being taken down a notch or two when he finds himself trapped in the rust-bucket hick-town of Radiator Springs.

This film incorporates a series of global races to test a new green fuel as well as espionage and an international plot to make the world dependent on oil for the foreseeable future.

The oil companies might choose to side with the villains, but everyone else will happily cheer for saving the planet.

If you are going to make a film about cars in the current environmentally conscious era, it has to incorporate something about sustainable fuel – especially as it’s for the next generation.

Also, McQueen takes a back seat to Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), his somewhat dented, somewhat creaky, best friend from Radiator Springs.

The tow truck gets to go with McQueen to the global race and after a hilarious incident in the toilet after an oil leak, he ends up being dragged into the shenanigans of a spy and his technical sidekick.

English actors Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer voice the spy cars Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell.

You can probably spot a thousand movie references here and the story is a bit of a mishmash – I am not sure why the writers bothered with so many races, but they get very tedious for an adult, let alone a child bursting to go to the toilet.

Also, as with most of the films this blockbuster season – with the notable exception of the superb X-Men: First Class – this film is in 3D.

Is it really necessary?

Will the children get something extra from this format (apart from a headache)?

The answer is probably “no”, although the animation and 3D technology are both top notch.

You can safely see it more cheaply in 2D and use the money to buy extra popcorn to fuel your endurance to make it through to the end.

If Pixar’s involved, there is cutting-edge technical specs and a smart story with lots of humour for audiences of all ages.

But I wouldn’t park this one on the same level as Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc and the Toy Story trilogy, which proves that sequels can not only work but can transcend the original.

Cars 2 will inspire the little ones to beg for a ticket, but you should expect to miss the end as it goes once too often around the track.

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